Cyprus Mail

Rare summer hailstorm destroys fruit, trees

Torrential rains and enormous hailstones that created a winter wonderland at the start of summer by blanketing the mountains in white caused mixed feelings on Monday, as some gushed over the rarity of the phenomenon while others mourned their destroyed crops.

The hailstorm lasted for about an hour in the early afternoon and left almost no fruit on trees. The produce the storm destroyed included pears, cherries, nectarines and peaches.

“In around a month we would have begun cutting nectarines and peaches, then apples. Now, there’s nothing left to cut,” producer Vlamis Avgousti from Amiandos told state broadcaster CyBC.

He said that the intensity of the hailstorm and the size of the stones had  damaged trees so badly that “we will have a problem also next year”.

Community leader of Amiandos, Kriton Kyriakides, said this was the first time in his life he had experienced something like this in summer.

“I am turning 74 and I cannot remember such a hail storm ever before in June,”

The government, he said, ought to help producers, as it will take a lot of money to help trees recover.

“How else will people whose livelihood is depended on those trees, survive?” he asked.

Another producer, 65, burst into tears after witnessing the extent of damage to his trees.

“I had planned on picking the fruit from the trees on Wednesday but everything is now gone,” he said.

Others on social media were happy with the weather –  seeing it as a pleasant interlude before the scorching heat settles in for good over the island during the summer months.

According to amateur meteorological site, Kitasweather, in some places the accumulated hail reached seven centimetres, while the diameter of the hail stones was two centimetres.

“This was one of the most intense hailstorms of recent times,” Kitasweather said.

The extreme weather mainly affected the villages of Amiandos, Pelendri, Agros, Dymes, Agridia and Potamitissa.

The rainfall has caused a number of rivers to flood, while crews had to clear a number of roads in the Troodos area from mud and rocks that had slid onto the tarmac.

The hail storm covered everything in white and social media was inundated by videos and photos showing landscapes covered in white, as if it had snowed.

Heavy rainfall at the end of May brought the overall precipitation to 232 per cent for that month. Normal precipitation for the month of May is 22.0 mm. The actual rainfall this year came to 47.5 mm.

The rains of the past couple of weeks, including Monday’s showers, according to the Meteorological Service, brought total precipitation across the government-controlled areas to 81 per cent of normal rainfall for the winter season.

Normal precipitation levels are defined as the average from 1961 to 1990.

The past 24 hours alone saw rainfall of 7.0 mm.

During the rainy season – October 1 to June 1 – the average precipitation is 487.0 mm.

More storms, rain and hail are expected over the coming days as a weak low-pressure system continues to affect the area, although it will be warmer than in recent days.

On Tuesday and Wednesday the weather will initially be sunny but in the afternoons rainy and stormy weather is expected, mainly in the mountains, inland and in the south of the island.

Temperatures will top 34C around Nicosia, 30C in coastal areas and 22C in the higher mountains.

The lowest temperatures at night are 18C in most areas and 11C in Troodos.

It will gradually become warmer and the skies are forecast to be clear on Thursday.

Today !!! Mt Olympus Cyprus !

Posted by Mary Patroklou on Monday, 4 June 2018


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